Wyoming edges Air Force 65-62

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AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AP)The shots simply didn’t fall for the Air Force Falcons men’s basketball team when they needed them most.

Air Force senior Andrew Henke could not connect on a potential game-tying 3-pointer with four seconds remaining as the Falcons fell 65-62 to Wyoming Saturday afternoon at Clune Arena. The Falcons had another chance to tie the game after Wyoming’s Afam Muojeke missed a pair of free throws with two seconds remaining, but the final buzzer sounded as senior Matt Holland lined up for a 3-point attempt in front of the Air Force bench.

Henke also had a 3-point attempt to tie the game when the Falcons trailed 63-60 with 16 seconds remaining, but missed it as well. The guard was frustrated after losing his last game in front of the Air Force faithful.

“I had two good looks at it and just missed,” Henke said. “On the last one, I was just a little off balance. I had a short guy guarding me, so when I rose up, there wasn’t anything between me and the basket, and you’ve got to knock those down.”

Air Force coach Jeff Reynolds said the Falcons didn’t successfully run their designed play for the potential game-tying shot.

“It was a busted play,” Reynolds said. “We have a designed play called Transition 3, and it can go to either side of the floor, but we never got into it. Tonight, their zone really bothered us, and it’s not like we didn’t get open looks.”

Wyoming’s Sean Ogirri scored 20 of his game-high 23 points in the first half and Brandon Ewing added 23 of his own for the Cowboys, who improved to 18-10 and 7-7 in the Mountain West Conference. The loss was the 15th consecutive defeat for the Falcons, who fell to 9-18 and 0-14 in conference play.

“We grinded it out,” Wyoming coach Heath Schroyer said. “I told our guys we were going to get a really good game by Air Force. They were going to play the best they had played all year. I knew that, so I said we just need to find a way to win. And we did.”

Air Force cut the Cowboys’ lead to 63-62 on a Holland layup with 13 seconds left, but it was as close as the Falcons would get. Ewing was immediately fouled when Wyoming inbounded the ball and hit a pair of clutch free throws to give the Cowboys their final margin of victory.

Henke led Air Force with 23 points, while Holland had 20.

“They were just on fire in the first half, and we dug ourselves a big hole,” Holland said. “I’m proud of our team. We didn’t give up and kept working hard.”

Wyoming outrebounded Air Force 41-19 and made more free throws (17) than the Falcons attempted (16) to earn the win despite committing 20 turnovers.

It has been a long, tough season for the Falcons.

“It’s been a difficult stretch for us,” said senior Anwar Johnson, who had eight points. “We have a fairly young team and are playing out of our positions. It’s tough when it’s a game we think we can win. You have to give a lot of credit to their defense. They played well down the stretch.”

The first half was a 3-point shooting contest, with Wyoming connecting on 9-of-15 attempts from beyond the arc and Air Force hitting 7-of-14 attempts. The Cowboys shot 56 percent from the field in the first half and used a 16-3 run midway through the half to take a 39-31 lead to the locker room.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Wyoming
Brandon Ewing Brandon Ewing
5-9,  23 Pts
4 Rebs, 6 Assists
 Air Force
Matt Holland Matt Holland
7-15,  20 Pts
6 Rebs, 3 Assists

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Saturday, Feb 28